In his four years as area vice president of Dell’s defense business, Joe Ayers has stuck to a winning formula. “The number one thing with all customers is to first listen, understand where they’re trying to go with their IT enterprise, then look for ways to save them money,” says Ayers, a 10-year Dell veteran. “The goal,” he adds, “is to stay in front of customers as much as possible, and to meet with them frequently … only through frequent interaction can you truly understand the customer’s mission and needs, and offer them best practices, ideas, and solutions that fit.” Here, Ayers weighs in on the top three IT challenges facing federal customers, and how industry can be part of the solution.
Top three IT challenges
1.) Cost and reduced budgets. “Our customers should be looking at modernizing data centers to improve efficiency. Most government (and private-sector) data centers have significant unused capacity,” says Ayers, who adds that customers should consider using technologies that lower energy use and boost productivity. He states: “Virtualization for example, reduces the number of servers required to run a data center. Combined with other technologies, a data center can do as much as three times more work using the same power and space. This unlocks unused capacity, increases computing power, and avoids the expense associated with over provisioning and buying additional servers.”
2.) Green IT. In an era of tight budgets, customers should consider investments in energy efficient technology that will provide returns in many ways. Use of energy-efficient servers and EPEAT-certified computers make a dramatic impact on IT-related energy use, contributing to savings and reducing an organization’s carbon footprint. “For example,” says Ayers, “a customer of ours reported saving enough energy to power 7,330 homes for one year by deploying EPEAT-certified technology, in this specific case, using Dell Optiplex desktop computers.”
3.) Simplify IT. Through IT simplification, IT leaders can speed implementation of new projects, increase administrative productivity, and scale in more ways with fewer restrictions. “Some ways to do this are to standardize on x86 server platforms to build a uniform infrastructure,” says Ayers, adding, “That is easier to manage and scale; size the storage infrastructure appropriately for today’s needs while preparing for rapid expansion and disaster recovery and, automate mundane IT tasks to focus on strategic initiatives and improve project performance.”
What you can do
“Organizations should be looking at ways to embrace new trends and technologies,” says Ayers. In Dell’s case, the company has developed technology that can be used in nontraditional computing areas such as an “all-in-one” data center. The technology can be deployed in the field. Another innovation is rugged mobile solutions, which can be used even in the most extreme environments.
Dell is also finding innovative ways to work with customers; it has formalized and expanded channel partnerships, including a number tailored to the public sector. “We have many strong partner relationships in the U.S. federal market,” says Ayers. “We find as we build out that network of partners around the world we’re opening a lot of doors and winning a lot of good business together,” he adds.